Cyclists Should Call Out Road Conditions to the Cyclists Behind Them in a Group Ride

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: Hey, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. I wanna know, are you calling out road conditions on every ride? You know, I think that this is a practice, it's a courtesy, it's a custom in cycling and I know that, you know, having been around a lot of bike clubs it is definitely a feature in every organized bike event that clubs ride. But I think many times when we get away from our club ride, you do a charity event or some other sponsored event, and you ride with people that you don't know, I just see and hear so many instances of people having a crash related to a road debris or an object, or some other feature on the road that no one called out. And I wanted to, this is kind of reminder for all of us, particularly in those situations where you're riding with someone you don't know, where you're riding in a group that you're not accustomed to, that it's a practice that we all need to be, have bear in mind. That we all need to call out debris, road issues, and obstructions.

Let me just give you a couple of examples of things that we've heard and people that we've dealt with that you might find a little surprising. I'm not a big advocate for bollards. You know, a bollard is a post normally put into a bike trail to prevent vehicles from driving onto the trail. If they're there, in my view, they have to be marked in a certain way to give people a heads up that they're approaching some of them. I know of a situation of a trail that has a bollard right in the middle of the trail and two people are riding, one slightly ahead of the other. The first person sees the bollard and simply, when they get to it, they simply move their bike a little bit to the left or right and miss it. But the person riding right behind them and so their view of the bollard is shielded by the person riding ahead of them. It wasn't called out. No one pointed it out to them, it wasn't marked on the road in advance. And so, the second person ran straight into the bollard at speed and was really hurt badly. And that's something that, you know, for the lead rider it's so obvious that something's here. But they're not thinking that the person behind them really has no opportunity to see it. They're in the perfect position not to see it. And this whole horrible injury could have been avoided by simply, hey, watch out for this bollard. Watch out for the post. We gotta deviate here.

I have had calls from people who've been on group rides, one comes to mind where there was a two by four in the road. And for whatever reason, either it wasn't called out or the person who was further back in the line didn't hear it, or maybe it wasn't called out all the way back. And this person ran into a two by four and, you know, crashed and suffered some really bad consequences.

I know of another situation where, you know, where when pavement comes together into a joint or a pavement joint, many times there's enough space, we see this on sidewalks some places, and some places on trails and roadways where there's enough space for our wheel to actually get caught into this groove between the sections of pavement. Talked to someone recently who had that exact experience riding with a group. It wasn't called out, didn't recognize it. They were further back in the group. Wheel hit the pavement, rider goes down. Could have been easily avoided had it been called out or, you know, and I'm not really pointing fingers at someone for the purpose of casting blame. That's certainly not my intention. I just want us all to be mindful that even if something is so obvious to me, as the lead person, there may be someone behind me who can't see it. And we always need to err on the side of being more cautious than less cautious.

I have another situation where there was concrete which had been spilled onto the roadway on a rural road. Bike club rode this route regularly. The people who rode it regularly, obviously this had been on the road for several months, were aware of it. But they had someone in the group who had never ridden that particular route and was further back in the line of riders. This was really easy to see if you're not right behind someone, you know, riding along at speed. It's unclear whether it was called out or not called out. But clearly, the person five or six people back into the pace line had never heard it, hadn't seen it, didn't recall, didn't hear the warning that day, and hit it, caused a crash and pretty significant injuries.

And here's kind of an example that I'm familiar with as well, you know, if you show up to a ride, you're not going with someone that you know, you get into a group of riders. Let's say you're doing a 30 or a 60 mile, or 100 mile ride, you get in with a group of riders and sort of riding your pace. And you find a group that you sort of ride with for a while. But nobody knows each other. In this particular situation, that's exactly what happened. This group was riding along in the same speed. No one really knew each other well. They hadn't ridden together before. This is another situation involving a bollard or a post on the trail. And what happened is the rider who ended up hitting this bollard was the last person in line. The people ahead simply parted, like Moses parted the Red Sea. They simply parted and went around this thing. But the last person in line hit it square on because it wasn't called out and brought to their attention.

I think that, hi Amir, how are you, man? Let me read this real quick. Yeah, I gotta, Amir is calling in saying that it's not only cycling but, you know, if you're running or doing anything in a large group of people that it's a good practice to be in. Yeah, and here's Harris, how are you? Good, good to hear from you, Harris. Yeah, Harris is pointing out that calling out things when you're riding alone is just as important. Cars are aware of what you're doing, and you become much more visible. Yeah, so looking at these, these notes that come across the screen, I appreciate you guys writing in and giving us those comments. I think you're giving information that's helpful to everybody.

So, again, I think our clubs do a great job. I've never ridden with a club that didn't have a practice and an announcement prior to the ride that we're gonna call out debris, obstructions, and road conditions. I think the tendency is that sometimes that gets relaxed when you ride with people you don't know. And many times, again just to reiterate, an obstruction or a condition which is so apparent to you, as the person who sees it first, just bear in mind that it may not be visible at all to the person two behind me, three behind me, four behind me. And just take that extra precaution to call it out, point it out, and do it in a loud voice. We all go out to enjoy the ride, we wanna come home safely. We want our equipment to come home without being injured or damaged. And I think this is just one more thing that we can all be aware of and just raise the general awareness and safety of what we do so we can enjoy it even further.

So, if you have any questions or concerns, if you have an issue that you've been injured in a crash, or you have a question about a crash, or a question about someone who may be responsible for an injury that's occurred, feel free to call us. I'm here. We never charge to talk on the phone. I'll be happy to answer any question. I'm committed to helping cyclist throughout the state, so wherever you are, whatever your question is, get in touch with us. I'll be happy to do it. You can reach us on our website.

Katie's gonna give us a free offer, I think she's running it on the screen now. Now we have this our waterproof phone case which is shamelessly logoed with my name all over it. I guarantee these for life. So, if you use one of these and it wears out, we'll send you another one. I have a Samsung Note 8 which is a pretty large phone, and it fits exactly into this thing and I carry it right in the backpack of my jersey. I throw in a copy of my drivers license, I wear a road ID but I usually take my license with me. I put 20 bucks in here. Or, you know, pointed out the other day with the program I did with Chain Wheel Drive that a $1 bill is a great tool as a patching tool if you have the wrong slice in your tire. So anything that you wanna carry that's helpful, you might want a credit card in here as well. It's helpful, we'd be happy to send one to you. Just get in touch with us according to the link that you see there on the screen.

And it's been great talking, hope you got something out of this this morning. If we can help you in any way, be in touch. I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. We're located in Clear Water but helping cyclists across the state. Have a great day, thanks, bye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.